Have you ever stopped to think about the character traits you’ve developed, the fears and doubts you’ve collected, the confidence and certainty you’ve established, and the person you’ve become? Do you wonder why you react a certain way? Have you ever questioned why you sometimes act fearlessly and other times act fearfully? Have you ever said, ‘Oh no, I am turning into my mother/father’? Have you ever seen traits in your children that concern you, because you recognise those same unhealthy patterns in yourself? Hmm, some interesting questions to ponder.
I have often wondered why I act, react and respond the way I do to different things and people in my life. I love some of my character traits and I am working to change others. I am fifty-five years old as I write this, so the time for blaming my parents for my peculiarities, habits and character traits is long gone. I am evolved enough to know that I have the capacity to change anything about myself I don’t like, or is not serving me. You do also, by the way. However, I do recognise that many of the things I do unconsciously, I picked from the people I spent most of my formative years with, my parents.
My mother never meant to pass on her anxiety, insecurities and self esteem issues to me, but she didn’t understand the power of example. My dad never intended for me to develop a tendency to shy away from social interactions, but again, he didn’t know I was watching and being influenced by him. On the other hand, some of the things I have inherited from my parents’ powerful example, have totally shaped the person I am today and the life I live, and for that I couldn’t be more grateful.
As you may know I recently had my drivers license suspended for accruing too many demerit points. When I received the speeding fine in the mail I knew would push me over the threshold and be the one that would cause the suspension to take effect, I had the option of nominating that another driver was in control of my car when the speeding camera took that fateful photo. It would’ve meant that I would not get the demerit point, as it would be given to the person I had nominated, and I would still have my license. So, I was tempted to the moment when I almost did it. I had convinced my brother, who agreed to take the point, and I got online to fill in the forms, but when it got to the declaration of truth part, I couldn’t go through with it. No-one would have known, I would have paid the fine anyway and I would still be able to drive today, but in my head, I could see my father, I thought about his ridiculous honesty, and I couldn’t go through with it. So, I sit here, with no license, but extremely proud of myself and thankful for the wonderful example my dad set for me.
I am a healthy and happy person today, in fact, one of the healthiest fifty-fivers on the planet. Not because I am so special, but because I was inspired by the example set for me to follow by my amazingly courageous mother as she made the changes she needed to make to survive and thrive in life with a life-threatening cancer diagnosis. She made significant changes to her thinking, her belief systems, to the people she associated with, to her eating and to her lifestyle choices that helped her to outlive a medical prognosis by more than fifteen years. She never once said, ‘Andrew, sit down I want to tell you what you need to do to be healthy and happy.’ Instead, I watched her incredible example, I was inspired, and I was changed forever.
I hope you are getting point loud and clear here. I remember telling my mother, not long before she passed away, that I was going to write a book about her life and her cancer journey. She could not understand who would be interested in or impacted by her life. Well, my beautiful mother, let me tell you, many thousands of people have been and will be impacted by your life, your story and your example for many generations to come. This I say to you, my friend, the thing that will have the greatest impact on the people you love and the change you want to see in the world, is the person you are and the actions you take to be the best you can be. Your example will influence many people. The question I have for you, as I finish this weeks blog is; are the actions you are taking and is the life you are living what you want for your children and the people most important in your life? You need to know and understand that the greatest legacy you will leave on this earth is the power of your example. Make it a good one!
My podcast this week, with Michelle Falzon, called the ‘Parent Factor,’ is one you should listen to if you want to be the best example you can be and have the most powerful impact you can have on others.